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Fatal Boating Accident Focuses Attention on Dangers of Distracted Boating

June 30, 2013

Most people are aware of the dangers of distracted driving, which have been well documented, but now that July is upon us, there is a new risk – distracted boating.  Some people may fail to consider the dangers of multi-tasking while operating a ski boat, fishing boat or other form of power boat, but the dangers may be even more significant than distracted operation of a car, truck or SUV.  When driving a boat, the operator has less control and no braking ability, so the time necessary to respond to an obstacle or swimmer in the water may be substantially longer than when operating a passenger car.

A recent distracted boating accident in another state that was widely reported by the national media provides a grim reminder of the potential risks associated with devoting less than a boater’s full attention when operating a speedboat, pontoon boat or even a personal watercraft (PWC).  A family was boating on Lake Powell in Utah when the operator of the motorboat was distracted by one of his six children on the boat according to an International Business Times (IBT) report.  According to the article, the operator of the powerboat was unable to avoid a collision with a houseboat.  The boat operator’s wife was killed in the collision, and his daughter and her friend were propelled into the water and presumed dead, according to the report.

This terrible tragedy reveals the significant degree of risk associated with inattentive boating.  Friends of the family expressed disbelief and shock because the family had extensive boating experience and embarked on many boating excursions to the same lake where the fatal boating accident occurred according to the report.  While operator inexperience is a factor in many boating accidents because novice operators rent speed boats and owners entrust boats to underage boaters, this collision shows that even experienced boating enthusiasts may struggle to recover from a mistake.  The exaggerated reaction time required to change course or slow the momentum of a boat can make even a few seconds of distracted boating the cause of a terrible tragedy.

Just as distracted operation of a fishing boat or powerboat can cause collisions because of the limited reaction time, alcohol impairment poses a similar risk.  Alcohol impairs perception, reaction time and judgment so drunken boating also causes serious watercraft accidents and even boating fatalities.  If you are involved in a boating accident, your first priority should be ensuring that all potential parties are safe and that they receive medical attention as needed.  The next step is to file an accident report.

If you or a family member has been injured or a loved one has died in a watercraft crash, our Atlanta boat accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. 

No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.